3 Reasons Why Finding a Counselor Can Be So Hard

3 Reasons Why Finding a Counselor Can Be So Hard

Why is it so hard to find a counselor? After weeks of looking, you’re starting to think Maybe it’s best to just quit. You’re faced with multiple barriers you hadn’t even considered that leave you with thoughts like, Wait, how much does counseling cost? You don’t take my insurance? How long until I can start? What do you mean you don’t specialize in this?

This article reviews some of the top reasons finding a counselor can be so hard and 3 solutions to help.

“Sorry, we don’t take your insurance.” Contrary to popular belief, not every counselor takes your insurance- or any insurance at all. Private pay rates for counseling services can range anywhere between $80-$150 per session. If you are looking for a counselor who specifically takes your insurance, start with your insurance company. Call the “member services line” on the back of your insurance card, it is usually a 1–888 or 1-800 phone number. Ask for help to find a “mental health or behavioral health counselor.” Put your insurance to work. Ask for a list of counselors in your area who take your insurance and begin calling from there.

Sorry, we aren’t taking new clients and won’t have availability until 3 months from now.” Believe it or not, counseling is in high demand. Some counseling agencies don’t have availability until weeks or months out. Consider the problem you are facing, can this issue wait for weeks or months? The typical answer is no, it cannot. Don’t postpone receiving support simply because that counselor is unavailable. Keep calling other places, keep looking around. With virtual services available, consider calling other cities in your area. This could widen the availability for clinical counseling services.

“Sorry, we don’t treat that issue here.” Some counselors do not specialize in the issue you are needing counseling services for. For example, if you are needing marriage counseling, not all counselors treat couples. If you need counseling for your seven-year-old child, not all counselors are trained to treat this age group. Based on the problem you need help with, take a look around for a counselor who specializes in this issue. When you call different places, let this be the first question you ask- Do any of your counselors offer couples counseling? When searching online, search specifically for “marriage counseling” rather than just “counseling.”

Overall, finding a counselor can be difficult. But please, don’t take this as some sort of weird sign from the world that you should NOT get help. The previously mentioned are minor inconveniences in the grand scheme of things. Your healing is on the line and you deserve this. Don’t let obstacles deter your opportunity for a better future.

4 Easy Ways to Combat Anxious Thoughts

4 Easy Ways to Combat Anxious Thoughts

Anxiety is a condition that exists in the thoughts of the mind. Based on the thoughts you create, it can fuel worry, stress and even fear. One way to manage anxiety is through mental defense through the thoughts you think. Here are a few ways to help get that anxiety under control in the mind. Yes. Mind control:

1). Ask yourself, is this thought accurate? 100% accurate? The thought that is prompting the anxiety, is it true? For example, if you’re thinking you can’t go on that road trip because you’re going to get into a car accident and die, is that true? Simple answer is you don’t know. But as of this point in time, it is not true. You are alive, so therefore it must be untrue. There is no way of knowing that information and claim it as 100% true. You must dispel the inaccuracies.

2). Use facts to counter the anxiety. Using the example from above, facts state you have a 1 in 107 chance of dying in a motor vehicle accident. This means you have less than 1% chance of dying in a car accident. AKA 99% chance of making it to your destination. Facts. Counter irrational thoughts with logic.

3). Use anchors. Look around you- what do you see, what do you hear, what do you feel on your skin, what do you smell? Tune into the sights and sounds around you. Think about the things right in front of your eyes and use them as anchors. You can’t allow your mind to convince you you are somewhere else in time. Remember the mind is exceptionally powerful. Some may find themselves in full blown panic attacks or anxiety attacks based on the thoughts they have in their head.

4). Scale it. On a scale of one to 10 on the severity or importance chart, how severe is this issue? For example, your mind starts going wild because your significant other didn’t answer their phone when you called. Your mind starts thinking outlandish things and before you know it they didn’t answer because they’re cheating you or in a hospital somewhere- or both. However, let’s go back to what happened. You called, they did not answer. On a scale of one to 10, how severe is this?? I would say it’s a good solid 2, maybe 3. This situation does not require a level 9 reaction.

So before you let your thoughts go too wild, ask yourself is this thought true? 100% of the time? What are the facts here? Where has my mind run off to? Where am I literally right now? On a scale of 1-10, how severe is this?

Remember, the mind is quick. You’ve got to sllllooooowwww your roll.

What is Anxiety?

What is Anxiety?

What is anxiety? Does everyone have it? Will it ever go away?

This blog will cover some of these questions about anxiety, what it is and how it works.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness suggests over 40 million Americans have an anxiety disorder– which is likely a gross underestimation. There are many who have struggled with anxiety and have presumed everyone goes through it, have never been formally diagnosed, or have no idea there is a name for what they are feeling. If you’re not sure if you worry is anxiety or just plain stress, here’s a blog to learn more. 

Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or Anxiety as it is commonly called, is a mental health disorder. While it originates in the brain, the body often feels it too. Anxiety is a fear the mind creates that doesn’t seem to slow down or let up. It can be related to one topic or many and is based in something bad that could happen now or in the future. Here are some common symptoms of anxiety:

  • Constant worrisome thoughts that won’t seem to stop
  • Difficulty making decisions or concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping or staying asleep
  • Irregular breathing like your heart is beating way too fast
  • Sweating
  • Shaky hands or legs
  • Fear of something bad happening
  • Hard time controlling feelings (ex: lashing out on others, uncontrollable sobbing)
  • Don’t feel like yourself.

While we may feel these symptoms at different times of our life- for example when feeling stressed out or going through something difficult- anxiety is different. It is known to effect people for weeks, months, or even years and can be difficult to control despite our best efforts.

If you or someone you love is experiencing anxious symptoms, talk about it. Clinical anxiety will not ever truly go away, rather it can be controlled and minimized depending on different factors. Not everyone with anxiety will require medication although many times this can help. Counseling can be a great resource to help you feel like you’re not in it alone.

Don’t wait for things to get worse, start by contacting us today.


Why Counseling Kinda Sucks Pt. 3

Why Counseling Kinda Sucks Pt. 3

Counseling is difficult. It’s like an intense exercise of the brain, very similar to an intense physical workout- think Iron Man or Triathlon. It’s not easy; it pushes beyond your own mental limits and makes you question things that have always been your truth. It can be intense, heavy, and sometimes overwhelming- but worth it.

Let’s pretend you and I decide to get into the best shape of our entire lives. We decide to get a trainer and we push ourselves in and out of the gym. On day one, you and I are running further than we have in a long time and naturally start to feel uncomfortable. Our hearts are beating faster and our legs start burning and soon feel like giving up. But our trainer says “Push it! Push it! You can do it.” So we knock it out- tired but accomplished.

Now let’s consider the same scenario, we’re running more than we have in a long time and start to feel a pain scorching through our knees and into the hamstring area. Our trainer then tells us to “Stop.” Pain is a signal for the body to stop. Discomfort, on the other hand, is a different kind of signal- it says you could be on the verge of growth.

Knowing your body is the most important thing when working out. It’s important to know when to pull back and when to push further because your body is on the verge of growth– even though it’s uncomfortable.

Counseling is a lot like this. It will never be intended to cause you pain. That’s not the point. If counseling is causing you pain, something is not right. This isn’t to say that you won’t feel tough emotions, or taken to the point of discomfort. Feeling emotionally uncomfortable can happen in counseling- you may start feelings you’ve been pushing down for awhile or maybe have feelings you didn’t think you had in you.

Honestly, counseling can be quite difficult, especially in the beginning. It’s not easy to push beyond your own mental limits and then wait to see results that seem to take forever. But rest assured dear friend, when things in counseling get a bit uncomfortable, you’re on the verge of growth.

One of the hardest parts of counseling is endurance. Counseling is a marathon race not a sprint. As a result of pushing yourself and trusting your “trainer”/counselor, you can begin to feel different, create an outlook that’s different, and live a life that’s different.  

Why Grief Sucks So Bad

Why Grief Sucks So Bad

By Laura Kotlowski, LPC









Loss and the grief that comes with it, are among the most difficult situations humans have to face.  Hands down.  I tell people close to me, “I don’t do grief well.”  It is my truth, and I have learned over time, that it is the truth of many other people as well. However, I have ALSO learned that what I choose to face I grow stronger in…grief doesn’t have to suck so bad – let’s take a deeper look.





Limiting our views of “loss” sucks.

Let’s define “loss.”  Sometimes we have a hard time handling grief because we only give ourselves permission to feel it if someone close to us dies.  Death is a major type of loss, though it isn’t the only one.  Loss can also be the ending of a relationship, not accomplishing a goal, moving, getting married, getting divorced, having a child, a medical diagnosis, the death of a pet, graduating, starting a new job, etc.  Essentially any experience that brings about change to “life as we know it” can be a loss.  For instance, grief can really suck when your best friend has a child and you feel bad that you feel sad – even while feeling happy for them.  Your relationship with that person will be forever changed because of life circumstances – it isn’t bad or good – it just is.  Can we feel joy and grief at the same time?  Yes.  And when we let ourselves do so, well, that doesn’t suck.

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Expectations suck.

How many of you have experienced a loss and then expected yourselves to handle it in a way that was different than what came naturally to you?  Were you angry and felt bad for that?  Were you questioning the details of the loss and others told you to stop?  Were you sad for “too long” or “too short” a time-period?  Here’s the secret:  there is no “right” way to grieve.  You can let yourself off the hook.  We will never experience two losses in the exact same way, nor will two different people handle the same loss in the exact same way.  You know what doesn’t suck?  Grace.  When we give ourselves and others permission to experience grief naturally, with compassion, understanding, and patience – that’s a gift to ourselves in an already difficult time. 









Grief sucks, yes.  Grief is also meaningful. 

Grief is a form of love.  We feel it because our connection to who (or what) we have lost means something to us.  A mantra that brought me great comfort when my dad died, and I have repeated to myself since is “The pain is so great because the love was so grand.”  Meaning, I was hurting so badly because our relationship and love for one another was so special.  The only way it could possibly hurt less, is if the connection between us was not as special.  This logic brought me comfort, and I began to honor the grief as meaningful instead of fighting it.









Grief is good.

The most common theme I have found is that people want to avoid grief altogether.  Who wants to be in pain?  However, the only way to avoid loss is to never put our heart and souls into other people, projects, goals, pets, etc.  We would not be hurt by losses, because we would never allow ourselves to “care” that much.  The world would lack intimacy, vulnerability, and love.  The only constant in life is change…so in order to protect ourselves from pain, we would have to guard our hearts at all times.  The downside of that is when we guard ourselves to keep pain out, we are also guarding ourselves to keep all the good things out as well.









Grief is painful, yes.  Grief is difficult, yes.  Grief is ALSO purposeful, and meaningful, and GOOD.  Facing grief alone can most definitely suck, but the good news is – we don’t have to.  We have one another to get through the difficult times and to share in the joyous times. 

You might read other material that tells you “time heals the pain.”  I find that to be untrue.  Grief sucks now, and it will suck later.  It just looks & feels a little different as time passes.

Keep on loving one another and don’t forget to dabble in self-love too.  Love doesn’t suck.





Why Counseling Kinda Sucks Pt. 2

Why Counseling Kinda Sucks Pt. 2

Ever had that feeling when everyone else is eating donuts for breakfast but you’re drinking your protein shake? How about that moment when you’re called lame for skipping the late-night outing with friends so you can be home before midnight?

This is also one of the reasons why counseling kind of sucks. There comes a moment in time when you take a look around, and realize you’re the one who’s doing the most work and receiving the most pushback.

 This article will go over some of the challenges faced in counseling and why it kinda sucks.

You’re the only one doing work

 Here’s the scenario: You’ve come to a point when you’ve decided you want an improved version of you. You start counseling and begin seeing results. You’re seeing the world in a different way and want so badly for your loved ones to drink the cool-aid too. But they don’t, and the more you push them, the more it seems they never will.

It can be discouraging to apply coping skills you’re learning in counseling, then see those around you stay the same. Because then they think, you’re the one changing so you must be the problem. Maybe you take a look at your parents and know that if they just communicated better, they’d be so much happier. Or if your husband could just learn about the 5 love languages, he would know how to love and be loved.

But you have to remember, counseling was never about them to begin with. This is your time, your journey, your work, for you to feel the benefits of. If they see it, great, and if not, that’s ok too.

Which brings us to point number 2…

People may not want you to change 

You’re the one who’s doing the most work and you’re the one receiving the most pushback. Why? People don’t like change, even good change. One of the harder parts of counseling is trying so hard to apply strategies you’ve talked about with your counselor, only to see people around you are resistant, doubtful, and outright unsupportive.

You have to remember, people have known you to be one way for a long time. And now you’re changing, so by default they now have to change their expectations of you. Maybe you were always the “yes” person, but now are using “no” for the first time. People may not like that. Just like you’ve grown comfortable with some bad habits, so have they.

Counseling can be exhausting

Don’t get us wrong, counseling can be a beautiful thing…but… it’s can also be very difficult, scary and downright exhausting at times. Let’s be real, no one wakes up in the morning and says to themselves “I can’t wait to see my counselor and ball my eyes out!” Neither do you say “I can’t wait to talk about the most intimate and vulnerable things that have ever happened in my life. Again.”

Let’s put it into perspective: You start counseling to talk about things in your life that happened a long time ago. A couple years ago, maybe childhood, or perhaps since your first marriage? We’re usually talking months ago, if not years these things changed you. And you only want to spend a few weeks in counseling before things change? Doesn’t work that way although we wish it did- check this out.

Counseling truly is an individual experience. It’s a wonderful thing when you start seeing results and positive outcomes in areas you’ve work so hard in. But there may be a flipside. At times, people see you growing and rather than being supportive, may feel offended. Rather than also feeling motivated to change, they may fault you for being “different.”

But remember, continue with the mission you set out to do, regardless of what happens around you. One day you will see how contagious you truly were.